Sports

3 bright spots from Lakers’ blowout preseason loss to Nets

The newly constructed roster (well, minus it’s superstars) of the Los Angeles Lakers finally played their first preseason game on Sunday versus the Brooklyn Nets. And while the Purple and Gold lost at home, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some positive takeaways.

And hey, what’s preseason without the overreactions right? 

Overreactions or not, here are three bright sports from the Lakers’ blowout preseason loss to the Nets.

3. New offensive set plays were introduced

Ah, this should put a smile on every fan’s face. The Lakers, who were barely healthy last season, were ranked 24th on offensive rating. They struggled to hit 3-pointers and often suffered from scoring droughts in 2020-21. They may be one of the few teams who were defensive-minded,  but the team’s half court offense was just abysmal to watch

They depended on post ups (which they barely countered all season), as well as isolation and transition plays to get the ball inside the basket. 

Sunday’s game was a completely different story. Yes, it’s only preseason but the new offensive sets and tactics the Lakers ran to start the game were a great sight to see. There were a couple of Chicago action (pin down into the dribble handoff), veer action Pick-and-Rolls, pin-in-flare screen and more plays that really put some of the new players in the best position to succeed. 

Anthony Davis, the only superstar that suited for the Lakers, did say in his postgame presser that the Lakers are nowhere close to where they want to be offensively. That’s a good sign because it shows the team really wants to polish it’s new set plays that were barely seen last season. Ultimately, the fact that LA is practicing new offensive schemes is a positive sign, especially after a disastrous offensive performance last season. 

2. Anthony Davis looks stronger and more imposing

Speaking of Davis, he only played 11 minutes on Sunday but his physique and conditioning already looks way better than last season. Based on what he said postgame, the Brow wanted to suit up on Sunday to develop rhythm and get his feet wet, especially after he was knocked out by injuries last season.

Just looking at how AD was moving, finding his own shot and defending was a positive factor for the Lakers in the game. 

The fact that Davis looks stronger is important because he is set to play the center position more this 2021-22, at least that’s what he confirmed on media day. Moreover, since his conditioning is better to start the campaign, there is some optimism that AD does not have to play catch-up with his fitness (like he did last season) and risk his health in the process. From what it seems, the Brow is ready for his revenge season. 

1. Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn had massive debuts 

What a debut it was for Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn, who might just be the players the Lakers need to break their shooting curse.

After making his first shot, Monk was microwave and stayed hot almost throughout the game. The former Charlotte Hornet displayed his ability to create his own shot, knock down jumpers and his confidence with the ball. 

Meanwhile for Nunn, he showed glimpses of his ability to shoot threes in transition, knock down jumpers, run a fastbreak and play in Vogel’s system. For as much as a great fit last season’s Lakers were, advance metrics will imply that none of them has the ability to shoot the ball like Nunn and Monk. This could be massive for the Purple and Gold moving forward. 

It may be preseason and it’s hard not to overreact, but these are great signs that the Lakers are going in the right direction. New offensive sets and schemes, role players who can finally contribute when the team needs a bucket, and a superstar who looks stronger than ever are really important and bright spots for the team moving forward. 

Lazar Hayward, Thunder



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